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Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the…
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Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II (edição: 2020)

de Svetlana Alexievich (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2611176,308 (4.14)23
"Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. These men and women were both witnesses and sometimes soldiers as well, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embedded in them--a trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. This is a new version of the war we're so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private experiences of individuals. Collectively, these voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war"--… (mais)
Membro:Waltersgn
Título:Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II
Autores:Svetlana Alexievich (Autor)
Informação:Penguin Random House USA (2020), 320 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:World War 1939-1945, Soviet Union History

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Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II de Svetlana Alexievich

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This astounding book opened up a historical episode completely unknown to me, in what is now Belarus, when the Nazis, without any warning, invaded. Decades later, those who were children at that time recall how their last day of peace was interrupted. Within hours, they and their families found themselves refugees, fleeing inland. Many never saw their families again. Children evaded through the countryside alone; were dumped in orphanages, never even knowing their real names; joined the Partisans; saw their parents killed in front of them; were thrown into boxcars and set to Germany to work in labor camps. A tragedy for the entire population of that generation. Story after story of starvation, of being taken in by strangers. The author presents the interviews with no historical context whatsoever -- Why did the Germans kill all civilians in one village, occupy another? What did the rest of the world know about what was happening? How is this episode described in general histories? And the effect of this absence of context is that there is no analytical separation between you and the stories and they hit you much harder.

Side note: As I was reading this, the author was in the news as part of the resistance against the current totalitarian regime of Belarus.

Personal Note: This is the second book I read in 2020 as part of the World War II book challenge, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov3LrLCpBFQ ( )
  read.to.live | Jan 10, 2021 |
Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievich.

I read the English language version.

Having read all of her other books I was naturally drawn to this. Her forté is to collate first hand verbatim accounts. In this case it was recollections of Russian people who were children when war began.

There are no sanitised images here. Within 30 pages I had tears running down my face. What kind of creatures are we that subject children to experiences such as those recorded here? As a parent how could I imagine watching my child being driven away or worse, left alone while I was dragged away. How could I imagine spending months looking for my children without knowing if they were even alive.

You must read this book. it will cure you of any rational thoughts about war and its consequences. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Can anyone really like this book? It was written in 1985, when most of the people telling their stories in it were probably in their 40s or 50s, for this is a collection of "reports" by former children of the Soviet Union, when Nazi Germany attacked, with the children asked being about 2 years old to about 16 years old. Most of the children, from what I can tell were Belarusian. The book I read was a very recent translation from the native language into English. Each story essentially starts with the actual beginning of the war for that child, with a few commenting about how life was as a child just before the attacks. For whatever reason, I found myself thinking back often to Elie Wiesel's book, Night, while reading this. The impact of that book had been deadened quite a bit for me by accounts of treatments of the Jews during the Holocaust from other sources that were much more extensive and graphic than even Wiesel had related, but there was something simple and direct about the Wiesel book that I felt also in the stories by adults telling their childhood stories in this book. To be frank, this book at times seems endless in its reports, one story seemingly blending and blurring into another, but then, every so often, sometimes too often, like a punch in the gut, a child tells about something no child should ever know about, let alone live through. I really cannot relay adequately how bad some of these stories, these moments are. The adults telling these stories are scarred. And yet somehow they were still alive physically, if not entirely emotionally, to tell them some 40 years after the fact. So, here we are the readers, another 35 years later still, trying to make sense of it -- during a global pandemic. Arghh! ( )
  larryerick | May 28, 2020 |
If you ever get in the doldrums and sit around feeling sorry for yourself about one First World problem or another, read this book to give you a better perspective of what it means to lose so so much. Heartbreaking doesn't begin to cover it. I listened to the audio and it was just excellent as the narrators took the parts of different Russians who survived the war when they were children. Barely.

It's not the first time I've read about people consuming their pets because they were in a state of starvation (see City of Thieves) but it is the first time I've heard actual first person descriptions of it. The children in the narration were aged from about four to early teens during the war. But believe me, they had no childhood; they were all adults regardless of their age because the horrific events they lived through took away any semblance of childhood.

This is a good book to keep in mind as we watch video footage of the innumerable war situations all over the world and consider the suffering of the children, especially the children. ( )
  brenzi | Dec 19, 2019 |
Incredibly touching book giving voice to those who were children during WWII.

When someone proposes a war, give them a copy of this book.

The emotional and physical harm these people were forced to endure, and the deplorable losses they suffered changed their lives forever.

While adults could not comprehend the depravity of the war they could at the least consider some limited choices. Children were, of course, more vulnerable and frightened because they were totally reliant on adults and could not control anything.

Physically weaker than adults they couldn't walk, run or work like adults. Without a regular diet of nutritious foods they could not develop healthfully both physically and mentally. this would have a deleterious effect on them.

Challenging book to read all at once. I had to digest it in small bits.

So devastatingly sad.
  Bookish59 | Dec 3, 2019 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Svetlana Alexievichautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Braat, Jan RobertTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Coldefy-Faucard, AnneTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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This work (Последние свидетели/Last Witnesses/Die letzten Zeugen/Últimos testigos/etc) is about World War II through children's eyes. Please do not combine it with Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, which is a totally different work.
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"Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. These men and women were both witnesses and sometimes soldiers as well, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embedded in them--a trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. This is a new version of the war we're so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private experiences of individuals. Collectively, these voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war"--

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